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617 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701 Map

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Tales from The First Ever Hideout Summer Intensive

This week The Hideout Theatre embarked on its first ever Summer Intensive. On Monday morning at 10am, 26 improvisors from near and far converged on the Hideout to learn from our crack team of improv instructors.

IntensiveEveryday, students of the intensive get a double dose of Hideout knowledge: fundamentals in the morning and narrative essentials in the afternoon. All week students have been raving about the experience.

“It’s hard to express how wonderful this experience has been,” says student Gloria Rabil Bankler “I’m am consistently amazed at the wonderful people improvisers are, wherever they come from. I appreciate them all so much as well as the teachers who are doing a spectacular job teaching information in a way that makes the six hours of instruction fly by. “

Intensive HangoutBy night, the improvisors of the intensive have been hanging with the locals, checking out the sights and many attended the Hideout improv jam on Wednesday to flex their new muscles.

“This is an amazing city filled with brilliant people,” says student Mark Tindle from London. “I am blown away by it and simply cannot put into words what a wonderful, open and loving welcome I have received here. I’m privileged to experience this.”

And it’s not just the improvisors taking the intensive that finding the experience enriching. The Hideout instructors are finding that the intensive is a growing opportunity for them as well.

“It’s a little intimidating to have people from all over the country and the world travel to learn from you,” says instructor Roy Janik. “I’ve been extra conscious to make sure that no moment is wasted. I’ve been leaning towards more exercises that everyone can do in pairs or in a few groups all at once. That way, no one is sitting down for too long, just watching. And of course, this is an excellent way to teach in general. The Intensive just reminded me of that.”

Now that you’ve heard all about these intrepid improvisors, come see what they’ve learned at the Hideout Summer Intensive Showcase Friday at 7:30pm and during Pgraph Presents Friday at 10pm!

And if you just want to try out improv yourself, sign up for our free improv class this Saturday or just take the plunge and sign up for a whole 6-week course!

You won’t regret it!

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The Newest Stage in The Hideout’s Development

Wait. What? What is happening?

Oh, actually, we know! And it’s totally amazing.We’ve built a stage for the downstairs theater. Not just any stage, but a stage to stand the test of time. A stage that will be beautiful and functional, and which will allow us to sit on the stage floor and be seen by the audience.

And when I say we, I mean we’ve been working with the amazing set designer Ia Ensterä to build us a stage. You’ve probably seen Ia’s work around town: in Graham Schmidt‘s Uncle Vanya, in Hyde Park Theater’s Lieutenant of Innismore, in Sky Candy’s Cosmicomics and countless other things.

Almost there!

Design director Kaci Beeler has been working hard on this for a while, and after many meetings and planning sessions that she held with Ia, it’s finally happening.

All of us on the Hideout management team have wanted to show the downstairs some love since we took it back, and now we finally get to.

Ooooing and Ahhhhing may commence now.


A new stage!

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The First Night Off of Caeriel Island

By Caeriel Crestin
photo by Warren Henderson

Saturday was our opening night of The International Improv Experience.

I was floored.

This show is a collaboration with improvisers from all over the world. These generous and excellent people put in time, energy, humor and creativity to film video challenges for us to interpret and perform on stage in front of a live audience.

We’d never done the show before opening night. We’d done run-throughs and such, sure, but always with some bullshit we made up to stand in for the actual videos, where we’d just stand on stage and pretend to be a video from such-and-such place we’d possibly visited once (or frequently in my case, “Caeriel Island” a possibly imaginary place I know rather well.) We were flying blind because having never seen an actual video sent from foreign improvisers, we could only imagine the kinds of things they’d send us, and of course our imaginations fell short of the wonderful reality.

Other people are great.

video still from The Osaka Improv Gathering

So when we finally got to do the show and see some of the actual videos we got sent, it was inspiring, shocking, delightful, and for me, kind of spiritual. I’ve never met any of these people. Yet they went out of their way to create something insanely fun for me (and the rest of us in the cast) to do! How cool is that??

I’m tearing up a little because if that wasn’t delightful enough in and of itself, I also felt this incredible sense of community, because I knew that all these people have this funny part of their brain that is similar to a funny part of my brain, that they all probably share a pretty similar approach not just to being on stage, but to life and other people. A willingness to play along. To co-create. To say, “Yes and…!”

I’ve been part of various communities: queers (and specifically radical faeries), pedicabbers, nerds, gamers, and so on. But I’ve never quite felt that peculiar and profound sense of kinship—“These people are like me! I can trust them in a very particular and amazing way just because of this thing we all do.”

video still from JadaJada Improv in Tampere, Finland

To me, that is a brand-new feeling. It’s profound and just plain awesome. I feel lucky to be part of this show, lucky to be part of the Austin community, and lucky to be connected to this even larger community that spans languages, cultures, and continents. So. Fucking. Cool.

The International Improv Experience runs every Saturday at 8pm in July and August of 2014. Get tickets here.

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